Farhad Manjoo’s advice for writers: Just do it — a lot
Today’s advice comes from one of my favorite writers in the non-sports world, Farhad Manjoo of Slate. Like James Poniewozik, he is a former co-worker of mine at Salon. He’s also written at Wired News and was the editor in chief of the Cornell Daily Sun in college.
Manjoo writes about “technology and other stuff I find interesting.” He’s particularly good at “explainers,” pieces that take a complicated subject or phenomenon and lay it out in terms that are easy for a non-expert in the field to understand.
Here he is on person-to-person lending, on “Amazon and book publishers’ stupid attempts to curtail e-book lending” and on Intel’s Thunderbolt cable, really a piece about why it’s “so hard to get gizmos to play nice to each other.”
Manjoo’s also the author of “True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society.” And I just found out we went to the same high school, though I was long forgotten by the time he got there.
I asked him for his best advice on writing. His answer was short and, well, not sweet, but it was short:
That’s easy: Do it every day.
It sucks. But you get better the more you do it. I think sticking to a routine — doing it at certain times of the day, in a certain place — works best.
One of the keys to success as a writer at Bleacher Report, and many other places, is to write often. Publishing often is a good way to build your audience and your own personal “brand” as a writer.
And, as Farhad notes, it helps you become a better writer. I would add that it’s not quite enough to just write every day. You also should pay attention to what you’re doing. Seek out feedback and take it seriously. Look back at your old stuff every once in a while and see if you can identify things you’d do differently now that you’ve been improving.
But just writing every day: That’s a good first step.